IBM is to stop selling PowerPC-based RS/6000 systems running Windows NT, casting doubts over its commitment to building PowerPC servers that run operating systems other than AIX.
Ian Roscow, IBM product marketing manager, confirmed the decision to drop NT but said it was not an indication that the company's backing for PowerPC is on shaky ground.
"It is merely that sales of systems running NT have been very low. We are going to drop all marketing and developing on RS/6000 systems running NT as of now. AIX systems will continue to be developed," he added. According to IBM's Microelectronics Division, AIX systems account for more than 90 per cent of its PowerPC workstation sales.
IBM has said it will continue to support customers running the discontinued systems.
IBM has been actively promoting NT as a platform for the PowerPC since 1993. Its decision means AIX is now the only operating system it offers with PowerPC-based RS/6000, undermining one of the key benefits of the Common Hardware Reference Platform or CHRP.
In June IBM's Microelectronics Division showed a "proof of technology" demonstration of systems running both Mac OS and NT. However, the company's client hardware divisions have yet to commit to building such systems.
The Microelectronics Division, which secured a MacOS license earlier this year, is currently trying to sell the PowerPC reference design to OEMs, including IBM's own system division, such as its Personal Computer Company. So far there are no big name licensee's.
When IBM, Apple and Motorola introduced the dual operating system design at Comdex/Fall 1995, officials of IBM's now defunct Power Personal Systems Division announced plans to build systems around the specification.
Since the division was dissolved this year, no other client group has picked up development of the dual operating system machine.
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